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Grapevine : June 2011
aagrapevine.org 29 I t is not easy to write on the Sixth Step. So I shall have to do some sharing. My first response is resis- tance. I greatly admire and approve of all twelve traditions. Although I am not an alcoholic, I have also tried to incorporate Steps two through twelve as part of my discipline of daily living--with one exception. I find myself bridling and resisting Step Six. I most certainly do not feel “entirely ready to have God remove all my defects of character.” true, I certainly admit to having defects of character, and I am more than ready to rely on a power greater than myself to provide me with the strength to admit them and to provide me with for- giveness. I am more than willing to work Steps Four and Five, but to assert that I am entirely ready to have God remove all my defects of character just goes against my grain. It goes against my grain for several reasons. First, I feel my defects of charac- ter are my responsibility. I would be a wuss to ask for help removing them. Sec- ond, we are talking about my underlying defects of character. Over the years I have grown attached to some of them. If I decide to give them up, okay; but I am not sure that I want to have any third party meddling with them. Third, the Sixth Step in its short form just fills me with un- belief and makes me feel hopeless. Acknowledging God’s capacity to help me with hope strengthens my faith. My capacity to love and receive love I perceive as largely God’s work, as I understand him/her. But. I don’t believe God can just remove my defects of character any more than he is about to make the sun shine when it’s rain- ing. Thus, although there is a great deal in life that fills me with hope, the Sixth Step is not one of them. I believe that a Higher Power can remove an alcoholic’s obsession with alcohol; that belief fills me with hope and explains why, as a physician, I love the Fellowship of AA. But to say that I am ready for “God, as I understand him” to give me release from just being a jerk, just makes me dig my heels in deeper. So the short ver- sion of the Sixth Step fills me with unbelief. ButifIamtowriteon the Sixth Step I can’t just It Beats Being a Jerk Reading the “Twelve and Twelve” helped this nonalcoholic trustee to finally embrace Step Six Steps RepRinted FRom GRapevine maGazine, June 2003 vol. 60 no. 1 GRAPE_29-30.indd 29 4/21/11 4:06 PM